Heritage, Volume 18, Number 2, Spring 2000 Page: 9
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
could help them deal with a larger world
outside of Edcouch-Elsa. Furthermore,
compiling these oral histories could also
teach students important personal and
business skills while letting them hear firsthand
from the town's elders about their
own cultural past.
Guajardo was not the only one who
thought this project worthwhile. Funding
for the initial effort came from a variety of
sources, including major national funders
such as the Annenberg and Kellogg Foundations.
Always keeping in mind his original
goal of providing students with new and
marketable skills for their future, Guajardo
involved the high schoolers right from the
start, having them participate in the initial
grantwriting that secured funding for
the project. "From the beginning, the students
were able to 'own' part of this project.
They helped raise the start-up money and
plan the objectives."
The effort started small with several students
arranging the interviews, designing
the questionnaires, and meeting with the
participants. Questions were asked and
answered, stories were told, and the interviews
were transcribed. Precious and often
neglected personal histories of the South
Texas culture were preserved for posterity
while the students learned valuable interviewing
and writing skills. After only a
couple of outings, Guajardo said that the
students gained increased insight. "It
taught them the importance of their culture
and community - that the stories of
the people who they see at church and at
the grocery store are important."
For Abigail Garcia, a 17-year-old junior
at Edcouch-Elsa High School who has
been involved in the Llano Grande project
for more than a year, participating in the
collection of the oral histories created an
opportunity for her to learn more about her
family - and in the process about herself.
"I interviewed my grandfather, who although
he has always lived nearby, never
talked much about his past. I asked him
questions that revealed information about
my family and community, the way that
his life was, and that helped me understand
why I'm the way that I am." She added, "I
think that one of the great advantages of
the program is that it brings together different
generations and fills a gap between
young and old. It's also nice because there
are so many people here who never had a
voice before, and now they do. Now many
of the elders will stop by
our office to ask when
we are going to interview
them. They want
to tell their stories."
For Guajardo, one of
the most gratifying experiences
"is seeing a
number of oral histories
make their way into the
curriculum of the classrooms.
English and social studies,
the voices of many
locals have been effectively
the traditional canon of
literature and into the
historiography of the
It's exciting to see how students
were able to sense a profound
connection to the academic
In addition to writing and interviewing,
other valuable skills I
were added during the process
when the students learned to
operate camera and video
equipment so that the interviews
could be recorded and the
physical culture and environ
Pages 8-9, top: The
Vahl'sing Packing Shed
in Elsa (1941), thought
to be the largest shed
under one roof. Page 9,
top to bottom: Benigno
and Luisita Salinas, with
their child, Librada.
Courtesy of Librada
Salinas Valdez; middle:
Marciana and Julia
Filoteo; below: Irene
Garza (far left) with
friends. All images from
the Llano Grande
HERITAGE * 9 * SPRING 2000
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 18, Number 2, Spring 2000, periodical, Spring 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45390/m1/9/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.